The Garmin Forerunner 955 stands at the pinnacle of the company’s esteemed Forerunner range and is undoubtedly one of the best running watches available. The 955 replaced the Garmin Forerunner 945 and there are several key updates with the new watch. However, the 945 is still widely available and is a great watch in its own right, and if you can bag the older device at a bargain price it’s worth considering even over the 955.
The Forerunner 945 frequently pops up in sales and offers most of the key features of the newer 955, including maps, music and extensive training analysis.
- Often discounted
- Excellent tracking
- Colour maps
- Thinner than 955
- Impressive battery life
- No training readiness
- No multi-band GPS
- Smaller screen
- No solar option
Garmin Forerunner 955 Vs Garmin Forerunner 945: Price And Availability
On RRP it makes a lot of sense to just get the new and improved watch, especially in the UK where the 955 is actually cheaper than the 945! The 955 is $499.99 in the US and £479.99 in the UK, whereas the Forerunner 945 is $399.99/£499.99. However, the Forerunner 945 is usually now available for less than that RRP, especially in sales periods when we’d expect to see it drop to around $350/£350. For those who want more battery life, the 955 Solar costs $599.99/£549.99.
How I Tested These Watches
To put the Forerunner 945 and 955 through their paces I wore them during several weeks of my regular marathon training. I am a 2hr 28min marathoner who runs 70km-110km a week, as well as cycling, strength training and doing yoga. I also wore the Forerunner 945 and 955 together for several runs to make direct comparisons in GPS and HR accuracy.
There are two versions of the Forerunner 955, the standard and the 955 Solar, which has solar panels around the outside of the screen. There are also two different colours of each watch, whereas the 945 just comes in one, black version.
The 945 and standard 955 look similar, with Garmin’s traditional five-button design and a fibre-reinforced polymer case that’s lighter but less attractive than the metal materials used on the Fenix, Epix and Enduro watches. The watches are slightly different sizes, though: the 955 is thicker at 14.4mm than the 945 at 13.7mm.
During my testing of the watches, this difference wasn’t really noticeable, but the larger screen on the 955 was. It has a 1.3in (33mm) 260 x 260 display compared with the 1.2in (30.5mm) 240 x 240 screen on the 945. The 955’s display is also a touchscreen, whereas the 945’s isn’t.
At 52g, the 955 is slightly heavier than the 945 which is 50g, and both have the same 5ATM waterproof rating. Most of the sensors on the two watches are the same except that the Forerunner 955 has a newer version of Garmin’s optical heart rate sensor and offers multi-band GPS tracking, which can be more accurate in tricky GPS conditions.
You get a small upgrade in battery life with the 955, especially if you opt for the solar version of the watch and use it in sunny conditions. On the listed specs the 955 outperforms the 945 across the board, though in real-world use it’s not as clear-cut if you use the multi-band GPS on the 955. The 955 lasted me seven to eight days on a charge with multi-band on, running every day, whereas the 945 would last me 10 days or so using the GPS + Galileo setting.
|Header Cell - Column 0
|Forerunner 955 Solar
|Up to 20 days
|Up to 49 hours
|GPS-only with music
|Up to 22 hours
|Multi-band GPS with music
Sports Tracking And Training Analysis
The most impressive new feature on the Forerunner 955 is training readiness, which gives a rating of your ability to train that day based on factors like recent training, sleep, your heart rate variability overnight and recovery time needed after your last workout. It’s a great tool for guiding your training and distils a lot of the data collected by the watch into one colour-coded metric.
The multi-band GPS on the new watch improves the accuracy, but the difference won’t be a dealbreaker for most people. The 945 was always accurate enough for me on distance and pacing during my testing.
Other new features on the 955 include HRV status, which shows your heart rate variability overnight to give an idea of how rested your body is; the race calendar widget, where you can add your upcoming events; and Garmin’s morning report, which displays information like the weather forecast and your suggested workout. The 955 will also get wrist-based running power soon, a feature that is not expected to be added to the 945.
While the 945 doesn’t have training readiness, it does still offer extensive training analysis and the same excellent sports tracking as the 955 (with the exception of not measuring running power on the wrist).
The smart features you get on the 945 and 955 are the same, and include NFC payments through Garmin Pay, and music storage with the ability to link up to premium accounts on Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer streaming services.
Both also feature colour maps and the navigation features on Garmin’s sports watches are head and shoulders above the competition, and the 945 and 955 are cheaper ways to get access to those features than splashing out on a Fenix, Epix or Enduro watch.
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.